Organic template-based ZnO embedded Mn3O4 nanoparticles: synthesis and evaluation of their electrochemical properties towards clean energy generation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Taghazal Zahra
  • Khuram Shahzad Ahmad
  • Camila Zequine
  • Ram K. Gupta


To deal with fossil fuel depletion and the rise in global temperatures caused by fossil fuels, cheap and abundant materials are required, in order to fulfill energy demand by developing high-performance fuel cells and electrocatalysts. In this work, a natural organic agent has been used to synthesize nano-structured ZnO/Mn3O4 with high surface area and enhanced electrocatalytic performance. Upon pre-annealing treatment, mixed metal oxide precipitates are formed due to the complex formation between a metal oxide and organic extract. The thermally annealed mixed oxide ZnO/Mn3O4 was characterized by XRD diffractometer, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) identified methyldecylamine as a major stabilizing agent of the synthesized nanomaterial. Using a Tauc plot, the calculated band energy for the synthesized ZnO/Mn3O4 mixed metal oxide was 1.65 eV. Moreover, we have demonstrated the effects of incorporated organic compounds on the surface chemistry, morphology and electrochemical behavior of ZnO/Mn3O4. The phyto-functionalized ZnO/Mn3O4 was deposited on Ni-foam for electrocatalytic studies. The fabricated electrode revealed good performance with low over-potential and Tafel slope, suggesting it to be suitable as a potential catalyst for water splitting application, in particular for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The overall findings of the current study provide a cost-effective and efficient organic template for functionalization and sustainable fabrication of ZnO/Mn3O4 nanomaterial for application as an electrocatalyst.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalRSC Advances
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020